If you and your partner are planning to separate or have already separated, both of you should make arrangements for the care of your children at the earliest opportunity. This is to ensure that your children will have no uncertainties about their care and support after the separation. The arrangements need not be in writing, but should you decide to do so, you may want to consider having a Parenting Plan.
What is a Parenting Plan?
A Parenting Plan is an agreement between separated parents that provide for the care and support of their children.
It is best if you and the other parent would be able to agree about who the children are going to live with, who will provide child support and how much, the schedules of visiting the other parent. Reaching an agreement as early as possible will be best not only for your children but also for you and your ex-partner in order to avoid future arguments.
What can we include in a Parenting Plan?
It is good to have a Parenting Plan which is simple and straightfoward. You and your spouse must always keep in mind while writing the Parenting Plan that it is for your children, not for you and your ex-partner, so it must be the wellbeng and development of your children that must be considered.
If you have more than one child, it is better to have different arrangements for each child because they have different needs. Making blanket provisions for all of them may sacrifice the special needs of one or more of your children.
The following are some issues you may want to cover in a parenting plan:
with whom the children will live
the amount of time that the child will spend with each parent and with other people e.g. grandparents, siblings or step-parents
the maintenance of communication between your children, with the other parent, and with people significant to them when you are with them
how decisions will be made regarding the child's school and extra-curricular activities, healthcare, travel, and so on
making plans and arrangements for special events in their lives including birthday celebrations, holidays, and so on
manner of amendments or modifications to the parenting plan
time within which the parenting plan will be effective
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